Angels supervisor Joe Maddon had a nickname for Dexter Fowler throughout their time along with the Chicago Cubs in 2015 and 2016, a saying he would repeat earlier than lots of Fowler’s at-bats.
“You go, we go.”
It was a nightly reminder of Fowler’s outsized significance on that World Collection-winning group. When Fowler was scorching, Maddon mentioned, the group normally adopted swimsuit. When he wasn’t, he nonetheless managed the strike zone and managed to achieve base typically. Across the clubhouse, his infectious smile was a relentless supply of optimistic vitality.
Now reunited with the Angels, who acquired Fowler in an offseason commerce with the St. Louis Cardinals, Maddon mentioned it feels “like no time has handed. He’s the identical man. And I am actually wanting ahead to seeing the affect he has on us.”
And over the subsequent month, there’s one explicit participant Maddon is to see Fowler work with. He hopes that as Fowler goes this spring, so too does Jo Adell.
“I believe it is simply going to be an natural state of affairs,” Maddon mentioned of the 2 proper fielders, “the place they’re simply going to hit it off.”
This season could possibly be key to Adell’s improvement. Whereas the Angels stay excessive on the previous first-round draft decide’s potential — Maddon described him as “excessive finish” final week — Adell, 21, has a lot to enhance after hitting .161 and struggling defensively in his 38-game debut in 2020.
Fowler’s presence ought to assist, particularly if the 34-year-old can reverse his personal declining manufacturing from his ultimate three seasons in St. Louis, when he hit a mixed .218 with a .690 on-base-plus-slugging.
Not solely does the previous All-Star present a veteran choice in proper subject — giving the Angels extra flexibility with Adell, who Maddon has mentioned may gain advantage from common taking part in time in Triple-A — however he additionally could possibly be a job mannequin.
“They’re each high-energy, enjoyable type of guys,” Maddon mentioned. “Dex has had the expertise of taking part in with a pair completely different organizations, a World Collection hero. I see it as being a superb union. I actually do. I imply, Dex is sweet for anyone. However [he and Adell have] comparable sorts of personalities.”
Fowler believes that sort of mentorship will come naturally the extra he’s across the group. Adell isn’t the one younger participant who may gain advantage. Extremely touted prospects Brandon Marsh, 23, and Jordyn Adams, 21, are additionally within the Angels’ large league camp.
“I’m a individuals individual,” Fowler mentioned, including, “I’m simply making an attempt to go away a legacy and have individuals have the ability to be open-minded and are available speak to me.”
When Maddon was requested final week about how Fowler might assist Adell particularly, the supervisor was already envisioning the information he might share across the batting cage or on-deck circle.
“I am sure that dialog and nuggets will probably be dropped,” Maddon mentioned. “And I am sure . . . that Jo’s gonna decide these nuggets up. I am actually keen to look at that.”
Fowler, who will probably be a free agent subsequent offseason, believes becoming a member of the Angels will probably be good for his personal sport, too.
He’s hoping to recapture his type from the beginning of final season, when he was batting .279 with an .832 OPS earlier than occurring the injured listing in early September with a abdomen challenge and ending the yr on a two-for-17 skid. A switch-hitter, he’s additionally desperate to get extra alternatives from the best facet of the plate after going simply two for 17 towards left-handed pitchers final yr.
Most of all, he’s excited to play for Maddon once more, which he mentioned was a consideration in his resolution to waive the no-trade clause in his contract with the Cardinals this offseason.
“He tells me on a regular basis, ‘Simply go be Dex,’ and I really like that,” Fowler mentioned. “I really like which you can simply exit and he accepts you in your personal pores and skin.”
For the Angels, it could possibly be the makings of a mutually helpful state of affairs — giving the group somebody who can assist their playoff push this season, and assist foster the event of a key piece to their future.
“Youthful guys have to be round individuals like this,” Maddon mentioned, “to actually perceive what it takes to ultimately change into an achieved main league participant.”
This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Instances.